the part where I go to a taping of a daytime talk show

Last week I got a phone call from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, offering me tickets to a taping of the show. Woo! (At first I thought it was from when I signed up for tickets in February, when I was home for two weeks with the bum knee and therefore watched a lot of Ellen. But I later found out the waiting list is one year and 30,000 names long, so apparently they hadn’t really lost my name from when I signed up last year like I thought they did.)

So anyway, I took yesterday off, and my friend L and I spent the entire afternoon at the NBC lot.

It started with a line outside the studio. That was ok, because there was a tiny ledge to sit on, and trees to shade us. But then they started shuffling us around, separating the guaranteed ticket people (not us) to the non-guaranteed ticket people (us). That’s when the many hours of standing started.

About an hour later, as they were escorting the guaranteed people in, they started handing out purple cards with numbers on them. L and I were 148 and 149. They stopped at about 160, and then everyone else got the “backyard” tickets (the backyard has recently replaced the Riff Raff room for the spillover), so whew, we just made it! (Although with free barbecue, ping pong and badminton, the backyard really didn’t look all that bad!)

We headed onto the studio lot, went through security, and arrived in the outdoor holding area to find that the people in front of us got the last seats. Gah! So we got to stand for another hour and a half, watching that day’s broadcast of Ellen, contemplating the cash snack bar set up by security, and being escorted by an NBC page for bathroom trips. We also filled out forms asking three questions we would want to ask Ellen. (I blanked, so I cheated and put down the Popgurls questions from the Lostshindig.)

They led us onto the set at 4:30, and we were seated in the back row right in the middle. (Not as bad as it sounds, as there are only eight rows.) Then we all warmed up with some dancing. There is no down time on Ellen’s set—when they’re not actively taping, the audience is dancing. It was kinda like a pre-school game that way—the music starts, everyone jumps up and dances. And the most enthusiastic dancers got tshirts, in an effort to keep the 200 people energized and motivated. (Didn’t stop the elderly couple in front of me from standing like statues the whole time, though.)

There was also a lot of clapping and cheering. We were told over and over again that Ellen had the loudest audience on television and “you don’t want to disappoint her.” I don’t know how true that is, but my voice was cracking around mid-show from all the cheering.

The show itself was lots of fun. Ellen is adorable, and I don’t know how she can stay so relaxed in front of all those cameras and microphones. Matt Dillon talks way too slow, but it’s possible that was a side effect of the jet-lag from Norway. Betty White rocks, but I knew that already. She totally broke Ellen by doing shadow puppets against Ellen’s face. The kid inventors were cute, as was the non-responsive “talking” baby. And yo, Il Divo are hot, but way too loud. One of the coolest parts of the show was when they picked an audience member to interview Ellen, based on the questions we had written down before the show. (I’m thinking “do you clog dance?” was the question that got her picked.)

After the show was wrapped, we got to watch some promo shots, including one with Ellen’s mom for Mother’s Day, and an interview with Extra, and as we were leaving, they gave us season two Golden Girls dvds, a What the *bleep* do we know? dvd, and the Il Divo cd, so that was pretty cool.

Despite the mucho-standing, it was a fun way to spend the afternoon, and if you ever plan to be in L.A., particularly oh, say, a year from now, you should try to sign up for tickets at ellendegeneres.com.

Oh, and the show aired today. (Sorry for the late notice.)

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